How to Answer the ‘Why do you Want to Work Here’ Job Interview Question

Nailing a job interview is all about preparation. And yet, sometimes even seemingly small questions can cause you to stumble.Take the ubiquitous "why do you want to work here", a common job interview question in almost every industry. It's deceptively simple; yet, especially if you're applying to multiple organizations, it can be difficult to find an authentic answer.Fortunately, that doesn't have to be the case. Use this guide to help you figure out how you should answer this question.

Step 1: Research Your Potential Employer

When they ask an interview question like "why do you want to work here", employers are looking for evidence that you’re serious about making a career move and you’re genuinely interested in working for their company. As a first step, you should try to avoid applying to jobs you wouldn’t seriously consider accepting if offered. The best way to feel prepared for this question is to do your research. Before the interview, look for information on the company's core mission and values, its culture, and recent news articles related to its expertise, expansion, or key figures.  A few sources can help you get started:

  • The company's website, especially its "About Us" page, "Careers" page, and "News Room" page.
  • The company's social media accounts and current employee’s LinkedIn profiles
  • The job description, especially the parts that are not directly speaking to the hire's qualifications and responsibilities.
  • A Google News search of the company's brand and product names.

This research will help you prepare for a wide range of potential interview questions, including how you plan to contribute to the company. Above all, though, it helps you prepare for that one question you know is coming.

Good and bad examples of how to answer the "Why do you want to work here" interview question.

Step 2: Determine Potential Overlaps in Skills and Interests

Once you have a good understanding of the organization for which you're interviewing, it's time to relate that information back to yourself. The best way to do that is to determine exactly where its values, expertise, and culture overlap with your own skills, interests, and values.A great way to accomplish this is making a list of your favorite things about the company you're researching. Chances are that, when making this list, you're already taking into account the above-mentioned overlap. It also helps you visualize and organize those points of emphasis in your mind.With that list created, try formulating a few sample answers in your mind. If you have a bilingual background, the company's operation in multiple countries may be especially relevant. Perhaps it's the organization's emphasis on sustainability you share, or the CEO's thoughts on the future of digital transformation that overlaps with your career goals. Find the overlaps, and write them down for later reference.

Good and bad examples of how to answer the "Why do you want to work here" interview question.

Step 3: Flip the Question in Your Mind

If you're struggling with the first two steps, consider this trick to make the question easier to answer: flip the question in your mind to why the company you're interviewing with would want to hire you over other candidates in their pipeline. That allows you to think about the entire situation from your potential employer's perspective, allowing you to answer the question in a way that makes sense for them.Once you've flipped the question, you can take your answer into a few different directions:

  • What skills do you have that could help the company succeed?
  • How would your personality fit into the company's culture and values?
  • How does your career or background relate to the company's goals and core competencies?

Each of these questions, when supplemented by tangible examples, can easily turn into the answer to why you want to work at the company in question. As a result, you can turn your answer into a thought-provoking, in-depth insight that is sure to impress your interviewer.

Step 4: Avoid Potential Pitfalls or Traps

When crafting your potential responses to job interview questions, it always helps to keep in mind exactly what your interviewer doesn't want you to say. Some responses could trigger red flags in the interviewers mind. In this case, those pitfalls probably focus on a few things:

  • Avoid focusing too much on how the job would benefit you in a non-career sense. Avoid especially talking about the potential salary and benefits.
  • Avoid being too generic in your response. The more you can focus on what makes your potential employer unique in your mind, the better. If they see your response as just looking for any job, your interest may not be seen as sincere or committed to the organization enough to be worth hiring.
  • Avoid talking about career stepping stones. Your recruiter is interviewing you about this position, not potential alternatives down the road. Mentioning career ambition and future growth is fine, but as soon as your interviewer thinks you’re trying to use this position as a stepping stone to another job, they will start to lose interest.

Step 5: Stay Honest and Authentic

Finally, perhaps the most important piece of advice when looking to ace this interview question is staying honest. Successful recruiters have interviewed hundreds of candidates for a wide variety of positions. They're able to spot candidates who are lying or trying to do too much in answering a simple question. Authenticity is key, and it will lead to better connections. The more personally you can relate your answer to your actual career ambitions and values, the better. That also helps you to stay enthusiastic in your response, avoiding any perceptions of being bored or simply looking at this position as "just another job". As a result, even if your answer is relatively straightforward, you can impress your potential employer with an emphatic answer that stays true to who you are and who you will be for the company. Never forget, interviewing is a two-way street. It’s a chance for you to learn more about your potential employer and see if you can envision calling this new workplace home. If you’re genuinely excited about the opportunity there’s no reason to sweat this question. Prepare and let your motivation shine through!

Find New Career Opportunities Today

Of course, preparing for the interview is only a small part of the equation. You have to get to that point to begin with, which is where we come in. Are you ready to find career opportunities that are tailor-made for you?Our recruitment network allows us to unearth hundreds of job openings, both now and in the future. Start the process to find work now, or contact us today if you have any initial questions. Let's work together to make sure you're well-prepared for the next step in your career and job search.

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